An injury that has forced him to the disabled list is the lesser of the problems facing Jenrry Mejia.
The New York Mets closer was suspended for 80 games Satirday after testing positive for Stanozolol, a powerful steroid often used by body builders and track athletes. Mejia, 25, is the fourth pitcher in the last 16 days to be disciplined for a positive Stanozolol test, joining Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins, David Rollins of the Seattle Mariners and Arodys Vizcaino of the Atlanta Braves. So far, Major League Baseball has found no links between the positive tests, an unnamed source told the Associated Press.
Mejia apologized but said he did not know how the drug, which also goes by the name Winstrol and cannot be disguised by masking agents, ended up in his system in a statement released by the MLB Players Association. “I know the rules are the rules and I will accept my punishment, but I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system,” Mejia said. “I have been through a lot in my young career and missed time due to injury. I have worked way too hard to come back and get to where I am, so I would never knowingly put anything in my body that I thought could hold me out further. I am sorry to the Mets organization, my teammates and the fans, as well as my family.”
David Wright, the Mets’ captain, was highly critical of his teammate, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with elbow inflammation.
“Everyone in baseball has tried to clean up the game,” he said (via the New York Daily News). “We love Jenrry as a teammate, but when you make a mistake, you’re going to be punished. Once Jenrry serves his suspension and comes back, we’ll welcome him and do whatever we can to make him feel like he’s part of this team. But for right now, he messed up, and he needs to be punished.”
If the drug sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for it in 2005, as did Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson in 1988. Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in the 100 meters.
“The question is how do they think they can take Stanozolol and not test positive?” Victor Conte, BALCO founder and now an anti-doping advocate, told the Daily News. “You can beat a test much easier with fast-acting testosterone. No one who knows they’re going to be tested these days should knowingly take this.”